Updated: Jul 8
It has become normal to see at sports events many athletes using their platforms to display their discontent over racism, police brutality, political divide, and many other social causes. I get it, we all have an issue to protest over, and many would love to be heard, and have those issues resolved by raising their voices, specially when you are being watched by millions, like at sports events. Recently, the US women’s soccer team on the 4th of July weekend did not even sing the national anthem because, apparently, some of them were using that moment in spotlight to protest who knows what. I respect the use of the first amendment to raise your voice, but your right is not absolute. If you as an athlete have an issue you would like to protest over, then do it, but not using the United States national uniform. When you wear that uniform in an international event, like the Olympics, World Cup, or any similar one, you represent the whole country and not just yourself. Therefore, if you feel you must raise your voice over social injustice, go ahead, I support this exercise of freedom of speech just as our constitution does, but do it on your own time and expense.
It has become trendy to teach hatred against the US and the flag, and I for one do not share those views of hatred against the United States. Is the US perfect? Of course not, do we have a lot to work on? Yes! But does it mean we must teach our children and future generations the United States has a dark past? because we would have to renounce everything and everyone if that were the case. Has anyone ever stopped to think that many African tribes in Africa sold thousands of blacks to White Europeans who settled the Americas? So, my question is, should we now go after those tribes and destroy them because they acted in such ways? I mean, what is next? Because in the end when looking at slavery, one must find all who were responsible and hold them accountable. And believe me, if that happened, the Europeans would owe black people in the Americas a lot of money in reparations. But making white people responsible for all the wrong doings in America will not change the course of history.
I believe we should move forward in building a more inclusive nation without hatred, and that starts by forgiving and learning from our dark past, which in the Americas, is the history of many nations, not just the United States.
I am sure these US athletes who protest have no idea that many blacks and indigenous people were slaughtered by the Spanish and French in Latin America. So, what should we do then, go and kill all the French and Spanish for their crimes and how they stole all the gold from the native Indians? I mean I can go on. For example: I am a Colombian American, and every time you arrive in an American Airport from Colombia, we always see US and customs officers searching and harassing passengers who come from Colombia, right at the gate like in an extreme case of racial and cultural profiling. Like, yeah, I am Pablo Escobar! I do not see anyone coming to denounce these acts of complete discrimination against the Colombian community and believe me it is horrible. Should I now go and denounce the flag because some officials have decided to make Colombians a target at airports? Of course not, I understand that this behavior is wrong, and I protest against it. But denouncing the flag is not a path I would choose, and if I were an athlete, I certainly would not use my platform representing the US abroad to show my discontent. I believe it is high time to set strict rules on these athletes using their US uniforms to push their agenda on the rest of Americans.
Finally, everyone in America has a platform to exercise their freedom of speech, but do it on your own time, platform, and venue, but not while you are representing the United States abroad. Want to denounce the flag? Take off the uniform and do it!
Cristhian Mancera Mejia
T: @cmancera33 @latribunacolus